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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Hannah C.

As a consumer and a college student, I use coupons every chance I have. Often times, I walk to the store with a certain product in mind. Whenever I go to the store, I know exactly what products I need to buy and I take any coupons that I can find, in the hopes of receiving the best deal possible. Personally, I will spend the extra time and get the best deal that I can. When I go to the store to buy my favorite shampoo, I will compare different websites and find the best coupon that is being offered. Realistically speaking, I am a college student and I do not have much money. With that in mind, I may come across a coupon for fifty cents off on my favorite shampoo. So, I decide to further research the deals to find a better coupon. I know that I can get that same shampoo for less money, and I keep looking through various coupon sources. In doing research, I usually  come across a coupon that might be three dollars off two bottles of shampoo. Do I buy one bottle of shampoo and save fifty cents or buy two bottles and save three dollars? Obviously, I decide to buy two. Keeping track of exactly how much of the product that I use helps me to know that I will use two. So, instead of having to go to the store later and buy the second bottle, and risk paying full price, I go ahead and buy two. I would definitely choose to save three dollars on two as oppose to fifty cents off on one.

A note from us at I’m In: We can help you save on healthy and beauty items, too!

Before I go shopping, I always find the coupons that I need. I never walk to the store, simply “hoping” to find a good deal, because that is never guaranteed. Generally, I can find a store coupon for a product, and then find a manufacturer’s coupon, and sometimes even a store clearance. Matching those items with a store reward card makes my savings even greater. The only down side is that sometimes certain stores are unwilling to accept different coupons or have coupon/product limits. For example, stores might say that the consumer may use one coupon, or only buy one product with that coupon. Of course, the store’s coupon policy will make me contemplate actually purchasing the product that I need from that particular store. If things become difficult, or if the store is unwilling to accept my coupon, I will go to a store that will accept my coupon. There is no reason for me to spend the extra two seventy-five on a product that will cost less money elsewhere.

As a whole, coupons certainly do impact my purchasing decisions. If I know that I need something, I will purposely wait for the product to become available for a much cheaper price than what I would have paid. I would even make sure that I stock up on what I need, to make sure that I am covered through the months that I cannot find a coupon for that particular item. In my opinion, there is no sense of spending extra money on products, when I could be putting that same money toward something that I need. And in my case, my primary focus is simply to pay for my tuition. I can definitely wait for a coupon to come out for the item that I need. I also have to remind myself that just because there is a coupon for a particular item, does not mean that I need to buy that item. I will save that money and opt not to buy that candy bar that an impulse buyer would purchase. And for anyone who is new to couponing, never buy the candy bars at the check-out line. These are one of the biggest way for companies to lure consumers into impulse buying.

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